An Austrian court has sentenced a retired army colonel to three years in prison after convicting him of spying for Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU) for more than 25 years.
But the 71-year-old officer, who has not been named and whose trial was held behind closed doors, was released for time served.
A jury in Salzburg on June 9 found the retired colonel guilty of disclosing state secrets. Specifically, the court found the man guilty of operating a secret intelligence operation against Austria, betraying state secrets, and the crime of deliberately revealing military secrets.
The charges carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison but he was sentenced to just three and released because of time served since his arrest in November 2018.
According to the charges, from 1992 to September 2018 the defendant provided military secrets to Russia in exchange for 280,000 euro.
Austria is one of the few European countries that has maintained close diplomatic contacts with Moscow despite Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain, which London has blamed on the Kremlin.
It remains to be seen what the Western allies feel about the case?